MENU

Church Curiosities Articles

'Heaving' in Dolday

'Heaving' in Dolday

The strange custom of 'heaving' took place in Dolday on Easter Monday. A chair decorated with ribbons and coloured streamers was placed in the street and the women would wait for the unwary male to pass along the street...


The Black Friars

The Black Friars

The Black Friars, or Dominican Friary, occupied the site between Broad Street and the City Walls at the Butts, and from the Sheep Market west to Dolday. Their habit was a black cloak and hood over a white cassock. They came to England in 1221, but when they settled in Worcester is not known, 


The Jews Patch

The Jews Patch

There was undoubtedly a considerable number of Jews living in Worcester in the Middle Ages and, as at other places, they did not have an easy time here. In 1218, Henry lll issued a writ to the Sheriff ordering him to require all Jews wherever they walked or rode abroad within or without the city, to fix on the head of their outer garments two white patches of cloth.....


The Spire & Curious Incidents

The Spire & Curious Incidents

Some curious incidents are connected with the repairing of St. Andrew's spire. In 1801, while some repairs were being made, a barber named Baylis, shaved several of his customers on the top of it, and about the same time, a china painter named Cotterill, took up a small cup, which he painted on the top. One of the men shaved on the top was Joshua Bridges, a Seven carrier, an eccentric, weighing when he died 21 stone. For two years he kept a massive stone coffin ready for his burial.


The Three Choirs Festival

The Three Choirs Festival

The Three Choirs Musical Festival is the oldest and most distinguished of its kind in the world. It started in 1715 as an itinerant music club, giving performances of church music. Later, concerts were given at the shirehalls, and it was not until 1759 that oratorios were performed in the Cathedral.


Strange Happenings in the Cathedral Churchyard

Strange Happenings in the Cathedral Churchyard

There is an area between Collage Street and Edgar Street where curious and tragic events have taken place, all of which were well reported in the press of the day. In November 1718 the whole of Worcester was talking about a girl named Mary Bentall who was troubled with a poltergeist.........


Old and New St Michael's Churches

Old and New St Michael's Churches

The old church of St. Michael in Bedwardine stood very close to the Cathedral on the north east side. It had been founded in 826, the name Bedwardine meaning 'ground reserved for the supply of the Refectory, a close or a field to supply bread'. Around the church were a number of houses which blocked up the northern facade of the Cathedral. It had a tower, and at the west end of St. Michael's stood the ancient clochium or bell tower with it's lofty spire...


Cathedral Bell Stolen

Cathedral Bell Stolen

In 1863, the Worcestershire Chronicle published the startling announcement that one of the great bells of Worcester Cathedral, weighing five cwts, had recently been stolen, 'it was not known how or when but it must have been within the last few months'. A ring of eight bells had existed at the Cathedral, and an America, who had visited the Tower, guided by a young ringer, informed the Custos that there were only seven......

 


The White Ladies

The White Ladies

The present house incorporates fragments of the Cistercian Nunnery called White Ladies, founded by Bishop Cantelupe, the friend of Simon de Mountfort, in 1250. Bishop Gifford, Cantelupe's successor, added to the endowment's and gave land bought from the de Flagge family. Some accounts say that Alice Flagge  entered the Convent and brought to the Nunnery lands leading up to Perdiswell, part of which, after 700 years, is still called Flagge Meadow. The Nunnery was further endowed by 53 acres of land ................


The Execution of Father John Wall

The Execution of Father John Wall

For several centuries the public gallows for Worcestershire stood at Red Hill on a piece of wasteland, but long since enclosed by the Sebrights. It is still possible to place the site of execution, for two ancient roads crossed here and these roads are now very narrow footpaths. The one, the old London Road, runs up the hill at the back of the houses; the other goes from north to south, crossing the traffic roundabout, and has a sign marked 'Footpath to Upper Battenhall'. Like many other ancient roads, it has been used as a marker, or boundary of property, and so has remained.


Bishop Gore

Bishop Gore

Facing the Tewkesbury Road is the Loch Ryan Hotel, a fine late18th-century house that was once the residence of Bishop Gore, Bishop of Worcester from 1902 - 1905. He was the first Bishop of the 20th century and a socialist who refused to live in Hartlebury Castle, preferring to live in closer contact with his people. 


St Peter's Church

St Peter's Church

In early times St Peter's church was known as the 'Great' to distinguish it from St Peter the Little which was a chapel at the royal castle of Worcester. By the 1830s it was picturesque but in a ruinous condition; and it was demolished in 1838. A new church was built with the aid of a government grant.... 


The Affray at the Ferry

The Affray at the Ferry

After the dissolution of the priory, the ferry and the boathouse passed with the Severn meadows to the new dean and chapter of the cathedral; and in Elizabethan times were the scene of an affray which became a Star Chamber matter, for strong passions disturbed the peace of the cathedral close in the days of transition from the old order to the new.


Old and new St Michael's churches

Old and new St Michael's churches

The old church of St Michael in Bedwardine, founded in 826, stood very close to the cathedral on the north-east side. Around the church were a number of houses that blocked up the northern facade of the cathedral. St Michael's had a tower and at the west end stood the ancient clochium, or bell tower, of the cathedral with its lofty spire.  


Cathedral Bell Stolen

Cathedral Bell Stolen

In 1863, the Worcestershire Chronicle published the startling announcement that one of the great bells of the cathedral, weighing five hundredweight had recently been stolen. It was not known how or when but it must have been within the last few months......... 


The  Cathedral Library

The Cathedral Library

Over the south aisle of the nave is the cathedral library. It contains rare and valuable books and documents of great age, including King John's will and a book printed by Caxton who set up England's first printing press in 1477. It was not until 1461, in the time of Bishop Carpenter, that a library was erected, and then it was placed in the charnel house; but there were collections of books and manuscripts before that, some certainly kept in the cloisters.......  


Old and New St. Michael's Churches

The old church of St. Michael in Bedwardine stood very close to the Cathedral on the north east side. It had been founded in 826, the name Bedwardine meaning 'ground reserved for the supply of the Refectory, a close or field to supply bread'. Around the church were a number of houses which blocked up the northern facade of the Cathedral. It had a tower, and at the west end of St. Michael's stood the ancient clochium or bell tower with its lofty spire.


The Cardinal's Hat

Worcester Cathedral in the period of 1100 to 1540 was one of the principal places of pilgrimage. Many ecclesiastical inns sheltered near the Cathedral catering for the traveler and pilgrim....

 


The Anchorite of St. Nicholas

The old church of St. Nicholas was erected in the 12th century and part of the crypt and basement walls appear to date from that period.


St Laurence's Church

The site of St, Laurence's Church was outside the City walls, where the burnt-shell of Sigley's Sweet Factory stood in what then prior the Friar's burial ground. William de Beachamp, Earl of Warwick, was buried there in June, 1298, after much ecclesiastic argument and bad feeling.. 


St Laurence's Church

The site of St Laurence's Church was outside the City Walls, where the burnt-out shell of Sigley's Sweet Factory stands in what was Friar's burial ground 


Grave Stone Ovens

In clearing churchyards, grave stones have sometimes to be removed, and in the last century, some stones were used in the making of bread ovens which were in almost every cottage and house of some size.

A Riotous Penance

In a collection of Stourbridge newspaper cuttings of about 1950, there were items from a 'Century Old Diary' kept by a Mr. B Leadbetter. There was no identification as to the newspaper, but it was thought to be the County Express. The diary entry was for May 5th, 1849, and it was revealed the fact that the custom of doing penance was still in vogue - but the ceremony of penance was more like a circus. Here is Leadbetter's description of the scene:

Mr. Ward's Playhouse, 1752 (Stourbridge)

The first record of a theatre at Stourbridge come's from Aris's Birmingham Gazette of 1752, with the announcement that the playhouse 'would shortly be open by Mr Ward'.

The Anchorite of St. Nicholas

The old church of St . Nicholas was erected in the 12th century and part of the crypt and basement walls appear to date from that period. There exists a record of a female anchorite who attached herself to the east end in the 13th century.

Miserrimus

In the cloisters of Worcester Cathedral is one of the most pathetic gravestones in the country. It marks a nameless grave, and has but one word on it: "Meserriums",  a prayer for the unfortunate whose bones lie below.

High Street Public Houses

In High Street there were two sets of public houses. Opposite the Guildhall, at No 31, was The Golden Lion, and next door at 32

Worcester Priors Mitred

All Worcester Priors were mitred. When a Prior walked in procession with the Bishop in the Cathedral, the Prior's crook pointed inward, the Bishop's outward, that distinguished their spheres of office. But if the See of Worcester fell vacant, the Prior automatically acted as Bishop. So until 1981, did his successor the Dean.

William Tyndale, and the Translation of the Bible into English

William Tyndale, one of the martyrs of the Reformation, was born in old diocese of Worcester, somewhere near the Severn Estuary, His translation of the Bible into English was one of the great events of the English Church.

Notes on the Reformation in Worcester

Among the manuscripts in the Bishop's Registry is one entitled Notitia Dioec Wigorn. It is written by the hand of Chancellor Price in about 1700, and records the changes in Worcester resulting from the Reformation

A Penance ordered on Two Clerks of Droitwich

Two Clerks of Droitwich who reseisted arrest by the Bishop's ministers and the Archdeacon of Worcester. 1304 - 'Order to the Dean of Wych to absolve John Colleware and John Barnard, Clerks,

A Penance ordered on a Sub-Deacon and his woman in 1303

Christian teaching was tactitly accepted as the basis of law. The control of the Church over its people and their morals, was complete. The Church not only taught, but punished when it thought necessary.

The Enthronement of a Medieval Bishop of Worcester

The Enthronement of a Bishop in his Cathedral church serves as a formal introduction to the clergy and laity of his diocese.

Rector in Penance at Kemerton

The Rev. Robery Wotton, Rector of Kemerton in the 16th century had to endure a long and humiliating penance. He was sentenced by Bishop Hooper to stand in his church, stripped to the waist, and bearing a horse's saddle on his back. The nature of his crime is unknown.

The Boundaries of the Worcester Diocese

The Boundaries of Mercia was at first co-extensive with the Diocese of Lichfield; the first four Bishops of Lichfield (from 655 to 675) are still recorded as Bishops of Mercia.

Saint Augustine's Oak

One of the most historic of meetings was that between Saint Augustine and the Bishop of the Britons in the summer of AD. 603. When the Romans left these shores, Britain was by no means abandoned to paganism.

St George's Roman Catholic Church and a Fine Painting

The present church in Sansome Walk was built in 1829, the year of the Catholic Emancipation Act, on the site of an earlier chapel of 1764

Local Saints, Fair and Markets

Local fairs were generally held in the churchyard and associated with the feast of a saint; and brought gatherings of people from far distances to a holy shrine, giving opportunity for

A Presentment from St Michael's Church. 1674

The Churchwardens present that; The church is in good order. John Flaye and his wife, Adam Symonds and his wife, John Wood and his wife, Richard Flayer and his wife, John Annen and his wife, Francis Smith and his wife, Mary Stram and Elizabeth Andrews.